Archive for July 6, 2008

My new mosaic project – Not about walls

I’ve been spending my life on my computer for months now working on my children’s mural websites (loving it) but I really need to make something with my hands.

I’ve decided to make a two mosaic topiaries.

Outside our front door gets extremely hot in the summer, and my pot plants either side of the door really don’t do very well, mainly because they need to be watered 2 or 3 times a day. As a result they are just about dead. (they’re lucky if they get water once a day)

So I had a brain wave…make two elegant faux trees out of mosaic.

They won’t need water! EVER!

I’ve started the project and I’ll blog the process.
With a bit of luck they might look quite nice in the end. That or I’ll have to delete all my references to them in my blog out of embarrassment!

Stage one

How to make a ball shaped support for the tree part.
I bought a cheap beach ball for a paper maché support. The paper maché was a mixture of flour, wood glue and water, and of course strips of the local newspaper.

Flour, Wood glue, Skrim, local newspaper

Flour, Wood glue, Skrim, local newspaper

Firstly, I  greased the ball with some bicycle grease my husband had lying around just to make sure the paper maché wouldn’t stick to the ball. The idea is that I leave a hole where the ball valve is, and I can deflate it when it’s dry and remove the ball. 
Clever hey? 

The proportions I used for the paper maché were 2 parts flour, one part glue and one part water. The mixture had a consistancy of thick cream. I tore my newspaper into strips and dipped each strip one at a time into the goo, then placed it over the ball, overlapping the strips.

I completed the first layer of paper maché and let it dry in a cool room by suspending the ball by some string attached to the ball valve. I say a cool room because when I did the second ball I had the bright idea to put it out in the sun to dry.
The air inside the ball got hot and expanded, inflating the ball further and splitting the paper maché (which was getting quite dry) in half.
Don’t do that!

When the ball was completely dry, I did a second layer of paper maché along with some skrim (I think that’s what it’s called). Builders use it to tape over the joints between two pieces of plaster board. It did curl up a bit, so I put more strips of newpaper over it. You don’t have to use it, but I wanted to make my ball as strong as possible.
Now that the two layers are dry it’s as hard as a rock!
Harder than I hope for, so I’m happy.

I let the air out of the balls and removed them from the paper maché. It worked a treat.

I now have two hollow balls of paper maché ready for stage two.


July 6, 2008 at 10:38 am 1 comment

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